Wednesday, June 24, 2009

For some new readers!


The newspaper reports celebrating the spirit of the country and the television reporters talking about the ‘cheerful co-existence’ of the am janta never caught my mind or even my ears, for that matter. But today, a journey in the general compartment of a not-so-express train after a long time, gave me a striking experience of the same. With ‘Slumdog’ spinning into my head while witnessing all the hulla-gulla of the Indian General Compartment, I figured out why I find the British movie so Indian. More importantly, I figured out the reason why it is successful in the small centers as well.
The lean blind beggar asking for alms, a 10-year old girl singing hits from 'Gadar', people running their businesses on the mobile phone-it was all there! Some instances were very common, like a 60 year old lady, with 40 Kgs of luggage with her kept fighting ‘verbally’ for a seat with a man in his 50's who had three children less than 5 years of age, two of them spilled saliva out of their mouth.
But some were unique. A man was successfully selling baby-size tumblers made of PVC with tiny twinkling lights meant for feeding infants. I was exhilarated! The salesman was shouting-"Your kid isn't fond of milk? Are you tired of using toys to get a glass of milk inside him? I HAVE THE SOLUTION!" “Sab dekha hoga, sab liya hoga, par aisa nahi liya hoga!”
I wanted to say, “I agree, man!" The same man had a pencil with similar twinkling lights. The product was titled, 'Shaka laka boom boom'! It was surprising to find that even TV shows are used for marketing items in trains! Anything can be popular in India!
The most entertaining part was yet to come. I had a privilege to watch two 15 year old girls singing old sad melodies. Singing in trains isn't an exciting prospect to look forward to, but their USP’s were the dholak and ghunghrus that they were carrying as the equipment! The girl on dholak had tied the ghunghrus on her right hand to provide the synchronicity! Though they sang in the familiar shrilled voice that all the train-singers are blessed with, I could still read most of the people inside moving their lips to the loud dholak beats and the jangling ghunghrus! They generated more revenue than the solo performer who earlier performed with a couple of small flat wooden cubes. They accepted money only in multiples of 5's and 10's! For singing in a train, that's quite a handsome range to deal with!
I kept making friends, receiving smiles and frowns all through my odyssey! At one time, there were at least 8 wadapao vendors, 5 carrying the cold-drinks tub and 10 vendors selling fruits, bhel, tobacco, tea and water! Add to that the beggars, singers, other salesmen and finally the passengers; all peacefully getting along.
After watching a whole civilization present inside the compartment and only one 'verbal' fight at the end of it, I was more than convinced that the spirit of the am janta that we listen about may be a part of the media histrionics is but a reality for sure. A reality, because of which our nation exists, co-exists, sustains, grows and celebrates! Jai Ho!


  1. woww...great thoughts dude....luv the way u observe things!!!

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  3. so far ur the best percipient, i have met.. amazing piece..